No surprise, debt is a turn off.

If you really want to impress your crush, scan the Sunday paper for some local dinner deals and ask them out.

A whopping 92 percent of Americans say it’s attractive when their partner looks for bargains, says a study from deal sharing site Slickdeals. But there is a difference between cheap and frugal — and being cheap isn’t a good look.

Someone who is cheap spends as little money as possible on everything. But being frugal means they take time to find the best bargain. For example, 72 percent feel clipping coupons is frugal. On the other hand, 44 percent think not tipping at a restaurant or re-gifting an item is cheap.

“The increased propensity toward frugality brings to light the importance of value for today’s shoppers,” says Slickdeals CEO Josh Meyers. “Making smart purchase decisions and looking for deals or coupons is becoming mainstream — it’s what savvy consumers do because they are financially wise.”

Why is being frugal attractive?

A 2013 study explored what it is that people find so arousing about someone who clips their Sunday coupons.

“A Penny Saved is a Partner Earned: The Romantic Appeal of Savers” is a working paper from the University of Michigan’s School of Business. It concludes that saving money shows self-control, which is an attractive quality in a romantic partner. Someone who watches their spending is more likely to be conscious of their credit score, physical health, and have a retirement plan.

“If savers are perceived as having greater general self-control than spenders, they may also be viewed as more attractive relationship partners than spenders,” the study says. “High self-control in a romantic partner may enhance relationship quality in a number of ways. Self-control also predicts how likely relationship partners are to keep the promises they make to one another.”

People who save their money are also less likely to have credit card debt, according to the study. Something many potential love interests see as a dating repellent.

Having debt isn’t attractive

One in five people say they’ve decided not to date someone because they have debt, says a study from personal finance site Credible.

Similar to the previously mentioned study, not only is saving attractive — being debt free is, too. Fifty-four percent of respondents say being debt free can make a partner more attractive than holding a college degree.

It’s not even that potential partners are shallow, the debt holder is often insecure about dating. So if you have debt, odds are your body language will reflect your confidence level on a first date. That’s keeping a lot of student loan borrowers from asking out their love interests.

Among student debt holders, a quarter say it makes them less confident about dating. Sixty-three percent would stop dating for a year if it somehow wipes out their student loan debt. Even more alarming, 53 percent are willing to stop dating for five years.

Sadly, people are uncomfortable talking about debt. There are 44 million student loan borrowers and 157 million in credit card debt in America. But people are more comfortable talking about their dating history than their debt.

“Although student loan debt is an important issue for those seeking a mate, debt is a taboo topic,” the study says. “On a first date, most people are more willing to talk about nearly anything — their religious views, income, dating history, or politics — than their own debt situation.”

Meet the Author

Joe Pye

Joe Pye

Associate editor

Pye is the associate editor of Debt.com.

Budgeting & Saving, News

money management, save money

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Article last modified on August 27, 2018 Published by Debt.com, LLC . Mobile users may also access the AMP Version: Americans Find Frugal Habits Sexy - AMP.